Are you brave enough to decorate boldly in the foyer?

Story highlights

  • The foyer welcomes guests to your home, but has many other functions
  • If you're going to make a bold decor choice, the foyer is the place to make it
  • Rugs -- in stand-out colors or sink-in levels of comfort -- really make the room
When you open the front door, there it is: The place you leave keys, stow your umbrella, check yourself in the mirror and -- play piano?
Foyers are unique rooms because often they need to serve multiple functions, said Emily Clark, a mom of five who curates the decor blog, "Emily A. Clark: design. simplified."
"It really is our family music room. The kids take piano lessons, so they're supposed to practice there," she said of her family's foyer.
Although her family doesn't generally go in and out of the house through the front door, Clark's children use the foyer all the time. The foyer is positioned in front of Clark's office, so she can watch her young children as they play with their dolls and run around in their walkers
And, because she sees it every day, she's really happy she chose to paint striking stripes on the wall. If you're going to have something bold in your house, the foyer's the place to do it, she said,
"To me, the stripes take everything to a different level of casualness," she said. " A piano room can get pretty stuffy, but the stripes are more playful and made everything a bit younger."
For many families, a foyer is an extension of the family room. But it's important that it doesn't look like a playroom.
Catherine Shireman said guests are always impressed when they enter her spacious foyer, which soars two stories high. Her family cares more that it's livable.
"My family lives hard in this space," she said. "There is usually a nerf sword fight occurring there."
"I want people to be awed by the grandeur of a two-story foyer but know that everyone is welcome and we're not fussy," said Shireman, interior designer and co-owner of Decor You Adore. Her decor solution was to focus on warmth. Her secret weapon? A cozy rug -- something thick and plush that your feet just melt into, she said.
Erin Cook's family plays in their foyer as well, thanks to a unique hopscotch rug, which is also the perfect afternoon nap spot for the family dog.
Cook's foyer is sandwiched between two more formal spaces, but she wasn't afraid to make it a focal point.
"I wanted to lighten the mood," said Cook, owner of Two Story Cottage.
"The hopscotch rug gives it a more relaxed, whimsical feel," she said. "The wallpaper accents the archway, which could otherwise go unnoticed."
"The foyer makes me smile," Cook said. "I love that it has its own personality despite our very open floor plan."
Linda Weinstein, who documented the transformation of her foyer on her blog, "Calling It Home," said her foyer also makes her smile, even though the rest of her family walks straight through it without so much as a second look.
"I have been dreaming, almost obsessing, over white paneled walls with colorful accents for more than two years," Weinstein said.
She found bold colored rugs to use in her foyer, which played off the colors in her dining room rug, and she went with blue and white Chinoiserie porcelain for a timeless and classic look.
"I love the sophistication a Chinoiserie piece can bring to a space," she said. Weinstein's grandmother also decorated with Chinoiserie, which made her home feel elegant and special.
"I want a more casual version of her home," Weinstein said.
Her go-to source for modern Chinoiserie pieces is The Pink Pagoda, which is where Weinstein got custom fabric to cover the stools under the hall table.
But what if your foyer is more like a corner than a room? Grandiosity and sophistication still work in tiny spaces, said Shannon Smith, a decorator and blogger from Charlotte, North Carolina. A large piece of art was her jumping-off point for the rest of the space.
"My foyer is really just a pass-through into the living room, so I tried to make it its own space as much as I could," she said. She created a vignette with the tall painting and smaller, inexpensive finds.
"I love all of the items (in my foyer decor) especially since I found most of them while thrift shopping," Smith said. "My lamp was a $2 Goodwill find," she said, "but I would have to say that my favorite piece in this space is my $10 rug."
Do you have a favorite find or decor project? Submit your photos to Open House and we may feature your work on Next week we'll feature "stairwells," so open the blinds, turn on the lamps and snap a photo of your gorgeous flight of stairs.